“Persian Letters” by Montesquieu Review
Usbek, one of the central heroes of the story, serves as a symbolic representation of despotism and superiority towards women. Hence, when analyzing the letters of one of his wives, Zachi, it becomes evident that a woman tries hard to regain her composure while Usbek’s power profoundly affects her. For example, in one of the letters, she discusses her travel and mentions the ways she manages things in the seraglio, claiming that she “made things up” with other wives and “gave a splendid feast” for Zephis (Montesquieu 58). Still, Zachi cannot stop mentioning that she “shall always adore” Usbek, and the life without him would always be nothing but miserable (Montesquieu 58).
Thus, subconsciously ignoring despotism of her husband, Zachi corrupts her soul with a fake feeling of material well-being and authority, where she takes the responsibility in order to feel like she is a dignified human being and not a commodity.
Montesquieu. Persian Letters. Translated by Margaret Mauldon, Oxford UP, 2008.